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Cop Killer IS objectionable

Neil D 21 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM
paula t 21 Nov 09 - 11:48 AM
Amos 21 Nov 09 - 10:02 AM
kendall 21 Nov 09 - 08:28 AM
Cool Beans 21 Nov 09 - 07:39 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Nov 09 - 06:24 AM
MartinRyan 21 Nov 09 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,hg 20 Nov 09 - 11:25 PM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 09 - 11:10 PM
GUEST,clank 20 Nov 09 - 10:07 PM
steve t 06 May 98 - 11:03 PM
rrobin 06 May 98 - 04:07 PM
chet w 04 May 98 - 10:09 PM
Pete M 04 May 98 - 08:44 PM
Bill D 04 May 98 - 07:15 PM
04 May 98 - 07:12 PM
steve t 04 May 98 - 04:40 AM
Catfeet 03 May 98 - 06:48 PM
Pete M 03 May 98 - 06:34 PM
Leprechaun 03 May 98 - 01:13 PM
Frank in the swamps 03 May 98 - 07:03 AM
Leprechaun 02 May 98 - 07:15 PM
chet w 02 May 98 - 12:13 PM
BK 02 May 98 - 12:51 AM
chet w 01 May 98 - 07:21 PM
Jon W. 01 May 98 - 04:33 PM
Frank in the swamps 01 May 98 - 04:11 PM
Chet W. 01 May 98 - 03:20 PM
Barry Finn 01 May 98 - 11:51 AM
Jon W. 01 May 98 - 10:34 AM
rosebrook 01 May 98 - 12:41 AM
Barry Finn 30 Apr 98 - 09:21 PM
Pete M 30 Apr 98 - 07:54 PM
chet w 30 Apr 98 - 07:22 PM
Jon W. 30 Apr 98 - 07:04 PM
Pete M 30 Apr 98 - 05:41 PM
Bo 30 Apr 98 - 05:31 PM
Whippoorwill 30 Apr 98 - 05:28 PM
Pete M 30 Apr 98 - 04:57 PM
Frank in the swamps 30 Apr 98 - 04:51 PM
Bert 30 Apr 98 - 04:43 PM
Barry Finn 30 Apr 98 - 03:49 PM
Barry Finn 30 Apr 98 - 03:47 PM
Bill D 29 Apr 98 - 11:23 AM
Whippoorwill 29 Apr 98 - 11:11 AM
Pete M 29 Apr 98 - 01:52 AM
Earl 29 Apr 98 - 12:24 AM
steve t 28 Apr 98 - 08:29 PM
chet w 28 Apr 98 - 08:19 PM
Earl 28 Apr 98 - 06:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Neil D
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM

Amos said "It occurs to me that what is most objectionable about that recording is that such polarization in the ordinary day-to-day world should exist that such a song would arise at all."
    Excellent point, Amos. I'm surprised it took 11 years for someone to make it.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: paula t
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 11:48 AM

I have to admit that I hate this song and what it represents. I feel very uncomfortable that it is played anywhere.However, I feel that banning a song gives it kudos.If the "powers that be" were to ban it then they would just give ammunition to the musicians and their supporters.
If it had been played on our radio at home when the girls were younger, then I would have switched it off and told them why I found it offensive. Nowadays I would leave it to them and trust them to disagree with the lyrics on their own.There comes a time when the generation this is aimed at have to vote with their feet and their money and take control of what is seen as acceptable.This is the only way to deal with this type of material.Despite the bad press,I have found most young people I have met to be decent and able to empathise with others.We just have to hope that ,eventually, poor sales makes these "musicians" change tack or get out of the business through lack of money.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Amos
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 10:02 AM

What strikes me about that conversation from 1998 is the clarity of the posts and the common goodwill with which people expressed their points of view.

It occurs to me that what is most objectionable about that recording is that such polarization in the ordinary day-to-day world should exist that such a song would arise at all.


A


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: kendall
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 08:28 AM

"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." (H.L. Mencken)


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Cool Beans
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 07:39 AM

Ironically, "Cop Killer" composer/author/former rapper Ice-T (Tracy Marrow) now plays a cop on TV's "Law and Order: SVU."


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 06:24 AM

I have just read right thru this refreshed thread. Two things amaze me:—

1 No list of Related Threads at the top — hasn't censorship been an issue elsewhere? Oh, surely ...

2 Nobody from here in the UK seems to have chipped in to mention our Race Relations legislation of 1965, 1976 &c, which forbids discrimination on ethnic grounds in employment, education &c; and also makes any publication or public pronouncement to the detriment of any section of society on ethnic grounds illegal. In other words, such pronouncements and/or publication is subject to CENSORSHIP. This is generally approved of by 'liberal' elements in our society - who, however, will paradoxically generally declare themselves to be opposed to 'censorship' in any form. All such acquaintance to whom I have pointed out the 'censorship' aspects of the Race Relations Acts, and asked to justify such inconsistency, have been either evasive or self-contradictory.

I have no solution to offer to resolve this apparent paradox; but it seems to me that this situation is most relevant, and bears strong and obvious affinities to, the subject of this thread throughout.

Anyone, either from here or from over there in US, care to comment on these observations?


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 03:51 AM

Jeez! The "45" reference had me confused for a moment...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 11:25 PM

Well Joe, this clank came through the RSS feed, I think.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 11:10 PM

Well, I don't quite know what to think of Clank's post, but I'm glad the thread was refreshed. It's an example of Mudcat at its best.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: GUEST,clank
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 10:07 PM

ha, i had that 45 when i was a kid. the dad of some neighbor's around the corner from me were related to marshall cheney, at one point the grand dragon of the kkk in indiana. i can still remember the tune.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: steve t
Date: 06 May 98 - 11:03 PM

Well just about everyone agrees Cop Killer is bad, but only a few people think the government should be allowed to do anything about it.

Reminder to post future stuff to Objectionable Material - the sequel.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: rrobin
Date: 06 May 98 - 04:07 PM

I couldn't finish reading all the messages, it made me sick. Why is everyone so afraid to say bad is bad and good is good? I think if this song were written about whatever each of you considers yourselves to be, and not cops, then you might be able to tell bad from good a little better. Personally, as a woman, and a mother, I feel threatened by the language in the song. What difference does it make whether it's sung to music or shouted in your face or just mumbled in your ear?


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: chet w
Date: 04 May 98 - 10:09 PM

Want a recipe for nerve gas? Go to a bookstore (you may have to try a few) and get a copy of The Anarchists' Cookbook, a reprinted work from the glorious sixties (I could have it in thirty minutes) In the sixties I never supported the violent activities of the Weathermen or the Black Panthers. I will say that at least these groups HAD a political agenda, whereas today's rap and heavy metal purveyors decidedly do not. It is a money-making machine taking advantage of the misery of those who can't seem to help themselves. And I'll tell you a couple of effective things being done in my backwards little state of South Carolina. In Columbia, where I live, they have opened police substations in the public housing projects and offered cash incentives to officers willing to live there. I have heard that it's making a difference. In historic Charleston, where the Civil War began, police chief Reuben Greenberg (who is black, in spite of his name), posted street officers on the very blocks where drugs were being sold (which is the driving force behind this gangsta criminal subculture). The dealers are being forced farther and farther away, and juvenile arrests are down 30 percent since the program began. This represents over the years hundreds of young people who did not start down the slippery criminal path. Chief Greenberg should be celebrated as a hero for that fact. I don't want government censorship. I want communities to marginalize these criminals just as we did to the Ku Klux Klan so that they at least have to hide their faces in public and do not get rich over the bodies of easily influenced juveniles who may have every right to feel rage but could be guided, as we were guided in the sixties by Dr. King, to do something constructive and effective rather than commit the suicide that the prison path represents. I can't help but think that we already are together on this if we just pay attention.

Keep it up. I'm mostly checking the "CopKiller-the sequel" thread now.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 04 May 98 - 08:44 PM

Some interesting ideas Steve, and ones that could do with some serious serious discussion and consideration. Personally, I would add the following - remove the "Limited liability" protection from companies so that Senior managers/directors and shareholders can be made directly liable for problems the company causes. Unfortuantely I think the only immediate effect would be to enrich lawyers, so we'ed better ban them as well!

Anyway enough of this frivolity I'm going back to reality, my recordings of the Goon shows.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Bill D
Date: 04 May 98 - 07:15 PM

forgot that I had a different version of Netscape up and my message wasn't automatically being signed! All that in the previous post was, in fact, me


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From:
Date: 04 May 98 - 07:12 PM

from rosebrooks post ^up there^

" I would like to hear more from those of you who are proposing this song be censored regarding how that is to be done. Who is the person or persons who will choose what voices to silence? How is that person/group chosen/appointed to do this job? What would be the proposed criteria for judging the material and determining whether it meets with approval or with censorship? "

I have really been thinking hard about this one. I find that I doubt very much that it is possible to find a way to have 'some' censorship without the privilege being abused, but I also have this visceral feeling that if the job were offered to me, I would take it! (not that there is much chance!)Although I know that strict 'cause & effect' does not apply to the effect such music might have on society, I am totally convinced that the effects are real and negative over the long term. It is a sad thing that the only solutions for certain problems are so drastic that we can never consider using them until the situation is in total crisis! (the situation with the Amazon rainforest for example...the world needs to simply tell Brazil that they MUST stop the destruction...but no one dares to say it, and it would mean international chaos to try it!)
....so..since I can't think of anyone I would trust with the job of censor, and you all probably don't trust me, it will just remain as it is, and we will continue to have songs like 'Cop Killer' and all the social ills that led to anyone writing it in the first place.

There is a well known formula for cooking frogs..(you simply put the frog in a kettle of water and raise the temperature VERY slowly until it is too late for the frog to realize he has a problem). I'm afraid many of the world's problems are like that...(population, pollution, overfishing, Microsoft, strip malls, corruption of 'folk music',...etc.)well, you see how sticky it is....I am glad that Max allows all this free discussion, 'cause it lets ME get on my soap box...but doesn't he see that some of the rest of you ought to be edited a bit??? *wink*


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: steve t
Date: 04 May 98 - 04:40 AM

I've been thinking about "Mack the Knife" and how I'm glad it didn't get censored. Still...

Steve "easy answers" T says:

A method for censorship? How about a complaint with a $200 processing fee, refundable if the complaint is found to be valid AND the individual/organization has an income below $25,000. In a free society, you can't stop the creation of hate "art" but you can punish those who spread the stuff. Criteria? Too detailed for this discussion, I think. I'm actually more concerned with giving a chance for society, through the government, a chance to express its opinion that such-and-such a promotion is unacceptable.

An honest expression of rage? So what? What is all this whining about "we should be very careful not to oppress the expressions of rage of minorities?" Come on. Just because you're disadvantaged and suffer prejudical treatment means you can loudly advocate ANYTHING? That sort of thinking just leads the "majority" away from reliance on the law.

How to fix the problem of the ghettos? Get international agreements on social welfare programs. Tax domestically and internationally produced goods which unfairly compete by avoidance of the cost of these social programs. Legalize drugs and give the government a monopoly on the drug trade. Make narcotic stores uninviting and very secure. Don't promote drugs. Get the governments involved in creating broadcasting for the poor -- commercial free programs along the lines of "The Honeymooners" rather than "Dallas." Scrap mandatory education. Pay most education money to students who pass government exams (and assume most of this money will already be promised to the schools/teachers these students have contracted). Reform the tax system so that shareholders don't prefer companies that grow to companies that make profits (give small business a better chance). Encourage banks to make deal with small businesses. I'm not dead certain that these answers are "right." I think they'd be better than waiting for "trickle down" and other "do nothing" apologist justifications.

Regarding censorship of nerve gas formulas, I read an article awhile ago that said it was currently extremely difficult to find that sort of information on the net, but that because of evolving availability of encryption, it will be easier to obtain reliable contacts who can supply such information in the near future.

Am I detached? I guess so. I live in Ottawa. I can walk anywhere in town at three AM. I don't think any cops have been killed here in a few years now. I haven't even heard of one getting shot. I'm pissed off about gun registration in Canada in case, down the line, it becomes easy for criminals to check out which houses have no guns. The only song lyric I remember that ever really pissed me off on a personal level was the one sung by Rod Stewart glorifying "we'll put the speakers on the roof and..." And I'm utterly certain it doesn't deserve censorship.

Easy answers? Most questions have easy answers -- we forget this because we generally only discuss those rarer issues which are very difficult. Like censorship in general. But I still classify censorship of "Cop Killer" as an "easy answer" issue.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Catfeet
Date: 03 May 98 - 06:48 PM

Leprechaun & Frank,

I can't say how much I agree with you both, and I have a little story to with you to prove that getting cops back to walking a beat works.

(she gets up on her soap box)

In 1992 I graduated from college in NYC. I started to look for an apartment, but they were all to expensive to rent on 8 dollars an hour, even with a roommate. So, I started looking in more marginal areas. The areas that were just slightly over the line. (For those of you that haven't lived in NYC, there are boundry lines that people are sometimes scared to go over. 99th st on the west side of Manhattan is one, 96th st on the east side is another. There are various lines like this that are drawn all over the city, denoting the "good" neighbor hoods from the "bad") So, I started to look in "bad" neighbor hoods, and found myself a WONDERFUL apartment in Spanish harlem on 105th st, 10 blocks over the boundry line. It was big, it had annemnites, it was cheap,...anyway. When I looked at it, the real estate agent kept asking me if I was sure I wanted it, but what he was really saying was are you sure a seemingly nice, young, white girl really wants to live here. (Spanish harlem has had at times a really horrific drive by and murder rate.) I took it, but finding a roommate was a real problem because no one wanted to live over the unwritten line. Fortunately for me, that was when Guliani started putting lots of police on foot in certain neighborhoods. Mine was one. There was a police station 3 blocks away and they began to clamp down on the little things, noise problems, cars parked in the wrong spot, kids swearing on the street. They really started setting the tone for the neighborhood-basically what was civil and polite, the idea being fix the little things, and the big ones will follow, and it worked. In the time I was there I saw several driveby's, but that was only in the first year or so. Today, the neighborhood is in an upswing. It's being renamed upper yorkville. The yuppies are starting to move north. The areas of the city where this didn't occur, however, are still plagued with problems. There was one police station in Brooklyn that I recall walking past and thinking it was either a war zone or a medieval castle, and that neighborhood has not recovered.

My two cents about getting the cops back on the street. I'll get down off my soapbox & give it to someone else.

Catfeet


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 03 May 98 - 06:34 PM

Leprechaun,

I read your posts with interest, and since you refer to me directly, am taking the liberty of replying in a public forum. Yes, it did occur to me that members of the police force may be reading and contributing to this thread, and I'm pleased that you are not only contributing but declaring your perspective. As I tried to make clear, I belive that the police forces in most "Western" nations contain people whose viewpoints cover a wide range. Clearly racist bullies and worse exist, but I certainly do not think that this is a sine qua non for being a cop, nor that they are a majority.

Email is very poor for conveying emphasis, so please bear with me if this is long winded. I checked the passage in my post that you refered to, and what I actually said was "I take from previous posts from US residents that the lyrics, whatever the motive for their creation, are an accurate relection of the feelings of that culture." So, no this does not imply that folks "like me" actually and by implication, erroneously, believe this on the basis of the song, its what people with first hand knowledge of the situation, Barry, Chet, Rosebrook, et el have said in this discussion. I always try to make it clear when I am speaking from personal experience and when, as in this case, I am drawing an inferrence from others views and statements.

As a matter of interest, outside of the main discussion, I agree with you and Frank its that the best way of alienating the police from any community not just LA, is to segregate them, and the return of the local cop to the beat on bicycle or on foot has I believe, been shown to have very favourable results both in community relations and crime statistics wherever it has been tried. However you may not be able to do this in one leap in a place like LA. I recoginize that teh police are doing avery difficult and often thankless task, all that I ask of them is what I would of anyone else, that in carrying out their job they exercise their consience, which I am sure, from the tenor of your post, you do.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Leprechaun
Date: 03 May 98 - 01:13 PM

I love this site. And I agree with you, Frank i.t.s., about cops being excluded from some social perspectives. And some cops are bullies, and some cops are racists. As a cop, it takes a conscious effort to stay in touch with the feelings of people outside the cop culture. That's easier for a cop like me in a medium or small town than it is for a cop in a war zone like East L.A. In some places it's almost impossible not to feel like you're surrounded by the enemy, especially in undercover assignments. But cop culture is changing. There's a big move afoot nationally to get cops more in touch with the people they serve. You mention cruisers. The most fun I've had as a cop is when I rode a police bicycle. It's also when I've felt the most vulnerable. But most of the people who met me loved the idea of a cop on a bike. The good guys could see me smiling, and the bad guys couldn't see me coming. (Woody Guthrie wrote: Never trust a smiling cop.)

As for this discussion, I guess I have to come down in opposition to government censorship. I trust most people who are not criminally inclined will see through the hate-lyrics, and understand the cunning behind this "art." The people who spew that kind of filth marginalize themselves, because they have a perverse desire to be marginalized. It frightens me that too many people are naive enough to attribute "Cop-Killer" to a legitimate expression of frustration and rage. But by all means, put it out there for all the world to see. Most people won't be fooled.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 03 May 98 - 07:03 AM

Leprechaun, given the contentious nature of this debate, I'm trying to be especially careful about inadvertant offense, printed conversation is damned awkward. It never occurred to me that a COP might be reading this, but doesn't that say something about the way police officers have been pushed out of our social picture? I spoke of the "heavily armed paramilitary soldier" as opposed to the "cop on the beat". The uniform sets the man on the street apart as an authoritative figure, but doesn't dehumanize him, the cruiser on the other hand.... feels like occupation.

I'm talking right off the top of my head now, it's time for me to go to bed, so I hope I'm not embarrassed to read this later. But it occurs to me that we who are not on the front lines tend to view the social gulf from one perspective and not disregard, but not SEE the other. Either we are aware of the horrid conditions which breed the violence and rebellion and cry for change, or we see the vermin predators who would commit their crimes under any circumstances and advocate tougher law. I have no sympathy for bullies no matter what their colors, I've encountered them, there isn't much you need to know about them. I believe policemen have to be members of the community, not foreigners. How we can get back to that under todays circumstances I don't know.

Back at ya later,

Frank i.t.s.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Leprechaun
Date: 02 May 98 - 07:15 PM

I've been away a while, or I certainly would have contributed to this thread sooner. A few years ago, a white supremecist named Metzger came to Portland, Oregon to encourage cowardly, racist skinheads to commit violence on black people. An innocent black man named Mugeleta Seraw was slaughtered by some of Metzger's minions. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Metzger and his white supremecist organization, and won a judgement which bankrupted Metzger. The Southern Poverty Law Center's success was applauded by every cop I know.

Of the hundreds of times I have been called a racist, the accusation has never, not once, been made in good faith. Whether it's a lawyer trying to deceive a jury, or a drug dealer trying to buy time before I find the stash in the hollowed out tongue of his Nikes, or a rapist trying to figure out a more plausible lie to explain why that little girl's fingerprints are in his rental truck, the first line of defense for these scoundrels is to accuse the cop of being a racist. But if I'm a racist, does that mean I just got lucky when I caught them? Do they really think, in good faith, that I've been falsely arresting hundreds of people because of their ethnicity, and this time I finally caught one who actually is guilty? Of course they don't think that. Nor do the fine gentlemen of Body Count think that more than a tiny percentage of police in L.A. engage in brutality. But whether you're the rapper or the rapist or the defense attorney, there's a benefit to perpetuating the stereotype of the brutal racist cop. These stereotypes feed on themselves, so folks like Pete M actually believe that the lyrics are "an accurate reflection of the feelings of that culture." The feelings of the culture are a perverted reflection of these lyrics. So should they be censored? Absolutely not. Should the motivations, the cynicism, and the dishonesty of the people who write these lyrics be analyzed and exposed?

If one of Chet W's lost students, enamored of the Gangsta mystique, should carry out Body Count's imperative on me when I'm responding to a loud campus beer party, will the Southern Poverty Law Center sue Body Count's record company on my family's behalf? And if one of you folks are on the jury, are you going to believe that defense attorney who tells you that I brutalized the poor dear and made disparaging remarks about his ethnicity?


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: chet w
Date: 02 May 98 - 12:13 PM

Moving to "objectionable material - the sequel" thread. This is certainly a fine discussion.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: BK
Date: 02 May 98 - 12:51 AM

I too work in a prison. This song, along with the other rape/murder glorifyers, will not help our inmates' recidivism rate, nor the victoms of their violence, nor any element of society - ghetto or mainstream. On the other hand, I now see white kids listening to gangsta rap.

Also while gangsta rap is evidently comercially viable, "folk" music is not? (in America). Kids from the most violent backgrounds can pick up this "gangsta" stuff on their walkman, but I can't pick up "Green Fields of France," "We The People," "Christmas In The Trenches," or much of anything else that might be thought-provoking to a middle class tax-payer.

When I sing these kinds of songs at church folks are extremely appreciative and often ask me, in amazment, where I find such great songs. They clearly do have some appeal. I think something is very strange here; a kind of censorship is always being effected at our commercial radio stations with the judgement that "folk" is not comercially viable.

Cheers, BK

ps: I am struck by the high level of this discourse, and agree with many of the opinions about censorshjp, responsibility, freedom of speech, etc.. Clearly, no easy answers... keep it up, folks !


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: chet w
Date: 01 May 98 - 07:21 PM

Frank, they certainly do need families, but for most of them this is not an option. There have always been terrible ghettoes, terrible entrenched social conditions, racism; People have been suffering these horrors since time began. And if they respond with rage, I'll stand by their side. But we must not condone in our culture (again, mind you, I don't want government censorship) a violent criminal subculture that is seductive, destructive, and on the verge of being MAINSTREAM. Jon, while I do not directly sing to my students, I play music for them everyday on the boombox, music of all kinds (except for the obvious) including my own music. One of my songs is actually very popular among my students - they request it often. I still want thoughtful people everywhere to join in solving an entirely new social horror, the glamorization and extreme commercialization of sickening violence. If their rage could be expressed as well as Barry's, I think we'd all see that we need to stand with them. It's hard to do that with a gun to your head, and a soundtrack that fits that gun/head configuration perfectly. I take my inspiration from Dr. King. Non-violence was on the way to making a big difference. God knows we could use somebody like him now.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Jon W.
Date: 01 May 98 - 04:33 PM

Chet, do you sing to your students? Maybe if you get a few of them hooked on less violent music, they'll start thinking about a less violent lifestyle. I believe that the most effective way to change a society is to change the individuals that make it up.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 01 May 98 - 04:11 PM

Chet, If I had an answer to that question you'd of had it yesterday. It seems so easy, convince people that life is worth living, and that they really do have a future worth working for, but sometimes the simplest message can be maddeningly difficult to convey. I think Jon W. is correct in that a sound family is required for most people to grow into civilized adulthood, but the problems Barry referred need to be solved as well, and far too often, families have perpetuated attitudes of bigotry and indifference. There are too many walled communities in America.

One thing young men need (not to dis the ladies, but men are the violent beasties, I think we need to deal with them first) are decent paying jobs. Young undereducated men aren't going to work for minimum wage if they think that's all they're ever going to get out of life. As long as our government is handing out welfare checks, why not make them supplementary checks to people with min. wage jobs? If people can see tangible results in their life after a years hard work, the second year goes a lot easier. And where are the churches on this, I see a lot of fabulous buildings, and wealthy preachers on t.v. but I thought that tithing business was to help the needy.

Frank i.t.s.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Chet W.
Date: 01 May 98 - 03:20 PM

I just have to ask again, while we're solving this philosophical dilemna for future ages, what do you want to do for my students that are dying TODAY, carrying the Body Count/CopKiller flag to their graves?

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 May 98 - 11:51 AM

Jon, I don't feel that the family unionizing is anything but a treatment of the symtpoms. The loss of public funding and support of education, health programs, employment opportunities, the tolerance of cultural differences, the total ceasement of scapegoating the expolited for the betterment of a majority would be , in my oppinion, a more appropriate direction. I don't support this song but I believe the voice that's silenced is, historically, the scream that haunts the future. Barry


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Jon W.
Date: 01 May 98 - 10:34 AM

Thank you Rosebrook for you comments. I understand what you mean by the thin line. The human being, in order to survive psychologically, becomes desensitized to the plight of others far faster than we are willing to admit--which in the end just worsens the situation.

Barry, the lyrics you wrote are truly heart-rending. I'm glad you made it out.

The solution to the ghetto problem, as far as I can see, is to reinstate the family unit as the basic unit of society. This can only be done by individual fathers (especially) and mothers accepting the responsibility for rearing their offspring. How to implement that solution is beyond me, I'm afraid.

Jon W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: rosebrook
Date: 01 May 98 - 12:41 AM

This has certainly been a thought provoking thread. I, also, am thankful that we have the political and social freedom to have an opportunity for this discussion.

I earn my living as a jail librarian. I work with inmates, both adults and juveniles in detention. I also work with correctional officers. Not only do I work with officers, but I consider some of them my friends. It has been interesting to me to read the variety of opinions on this subject.

I can certainly understand what circumstances influenced the writing of this song, and others like it. I don't condone the lyrics, but I understand the frustration and rage that birthed it. I don't believe that this should have anything to do with the decision to censor it. Unfortunately, in this case I think that's exactly why this song has been targeted for censorship. It's aimed at a population that has traditionally been associated as white, male, middle class. I don't hear about censoring songs that target women as objects of torture, rape and murder. Or gays. These songs, which are no more and no less despicable, are out there, too.

However, I really don't care why a song was written, or why it is selected as a candidate for being censored. As a librarian and as a proponent of intellectual freedom, the proposal that our government "should" silence something written by a member or members of our society scares me.

I would like to hear more from those of you who are proposing this song be censored regarding how that is to be done. Who is the person or persons who will choose what voices to silence? How is that person/group chosen/appointed to do this job? What would be the proposed criteria for judging the material and determining whether it meets with approval or with censorship?

Jon W., I think you are on to something with your earlier statements about the two groups: gangs and cops, and the chasm that lies between. Ironically, however, many times there is a mighty thin line between those that are kept and their keepers.

Rosebrook


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Subject: Lyr Add: NO TOMORROW FOR THE POOR^^
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 09:21 PM

I wrote this some time back about the only home I knew growing up in the dumps, I've always believed that the ghettos are meant to exist for the benifit of those who are better off, I just happened to make it out, while most of the ones I left behind are now dead.To the tune of "Virginia Lags"

NO TOMORROW FOR THE POOR
(Barry Finn)

Inside the ghettos there dwells the greatest of crimes
Where kids with no hope are serving their time
Where they're shocked into feeling that life has no price
   They live & they die, no tomorrow

With no higher learning, no place they can turn
They see daily the wealth from crime they can earn
They're under the gun every time that they turn
   And we ask why they have no values

Their language is foreign, their culture is strange
There's slight chance for survival outside of a gang
To get life from drugs beats the pain of no change
   There's no light at the end of their tunnel

There's abuse of all kinds that runs rampage with rage
And the cycle runs deeper with each passing age
Until lock them away is all we can say
   They've been locked away all of their young lives

We'll draw cheap labor from them that'll slave
And watch while we help the rest into the grave
Keep them from good health, good schools & good wage
   And hope that there isn't a backlash

So now let us finish & shake hands with our fate
And don't be surprised when you're a victim of hate
What they've been robbed of to you they'll relate
   You'll be hunted as prey by your victim



While life goes on for us all, and not a hand has been lifted in support, as in the ghettos of Poland when no one saw, can you really hold it against those that feel this way & try to express themselves in their native culture, it's acting on these feelings that's dangerous, but where do the tools for control come from. When this is your life & your carried out of the house you just broke into, you've finally made it to a safe haven. Barry


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 07:54 PM

so the US constitution includes the right to bear arms ie use them, against those who violate your rights? The cops violated my rights so I shot the ***. QED.

If only it was that simple. Cops, black youths in LA, "law abiding" white folks, and folk singers, come in all shades of political opinion, and within and between each group there are differing ethical frameworks and world views. All views on this topic are subjective and formed by the individuals weltanschuung. I come back to the original point, within a healthy society, views which express hatred of another group can only be marginalised and made ineffective *if* they are visible. Pretend they dont exist, censor them so that "decent" folk aren't affronted, and they will take on a life of their own.

Having said that, I must agree with Chet W, whose views on this subject, given his profession, have a weight of experience which most of us lack; about the abscence of a political intent, but I take from previous posts from US residents that the lyrics, whatever the motive for their creation, are an accurate relection of the feelings of that culture. I would therefore argue that the debate is valid.

To me the only people in this world who are dangerous are those who are sure they are right.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: chet w
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 07:22 PM

I'm all for the philosophical views expressed here about the rights of individual expression, even the justification of the rage felt by certain minority groups. I'm comfortable with that. But the essence of this "Gangsta Rap" and drug gang culture is remarkable in that it seems to be entirely free of politics. There is no social commentary coming from their ranks. Remember the LA riots in 92 when Rodney King's torturers-in-uniform were acquitted in their first trial? I could have understood if they had marched on the courthouse and even burned it down. But did you see the live shots on TV? The "riot" consisted mostly of people of all colors and ethnicities stealing as many alcoholic beverages as they could, laughing all the way, and occasionally somebody taking time to violently attack somebody (just because they were driving past) or set fire to their own neighborhood. There was a Gangsta rapper named Sister Souljah who, in her fifteen minutes of fame, went on and on in the national media about how this riot was an expression of social rage. Oddly, two weeks later, the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Championship and the citizens of Detroit expressed their social rage in exactly the same way. Other than the occasional kindergarten level, transparent attempts at political expression such as Cop Killer, please somebody pull up and post a Gangsta rap song with any political intent. IT'S JUST MONEY. Money for drugs, money for violent songs, movies, matching clothes, BMW's, etc etc. When I was in college in the early seventies, I had a friend who brought in a 45 rpm record that somebody had bought for him at an actual KKK rally. It was by a band called The Coon Hunters. One side of it went (I've tried to forget it) "We don't want niggers in our schools, We're not for integration, Keep those niggers in their place and we'll have a better nation." I lost interest in that friend after this, and while I don't want the government to even censor The Coon Hunters, I do want us to marginalize them and let them know that they are not welcome in our communities, among non-violent folks. I do think we've done pretty well with that; at least they have to cover their faces. Lastly, while we're supporting freedom of expression and granting political integrity to just about anything, what are we going to do to save the lives (literally) of my students (who, if you read my tirades above, you know they are incarcerated for serious crimes) today! I'm serious, you don't know what it's like to see this happening. Keep up the discussion.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 07:04 PM

Whip, I'm with you on this one. If someone is attempting to violate my right to life, liberty, and property (which I've got to assume someone who breaks into my home is doing), he's waived his rights to the same, simply by application of the universal standard of morality known among all peoples and stated by Jesus: "Whatsoever you would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." I may choose to die rather than use deadly force against someone who is trying to kill me, but that should be my choice, not forced on me by my government. And when you are counting the bodies killed by a gun-toting people, don't forget to balance it with the 50 million or so this century who were first disarmed by their governments and then either butchered or left to starve - I'm talking about Russians, Jews, Cambodians, and Chinese among others.

Jon W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 05:41 PM

I know that mankinds ability to sincerely hold self contradictory views is legendry; but advocating...."Your rights end where the other fellow's nose starts." and then stating "Don't break into my home; they'll carry you out." within two consecutive messages?????

Lets not loose sight of the fact that the dilemma between the rights of the individual v that of society has taxed the minds of the greatest philosophers since time began, and there is *no* correct answer. The mere fact that we are able to hold this discussion is a positive sign.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Bo
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 05:31 PM

I think that our society has lost sight of its responsibility to courtesy for our employees and their welfare. We are all too ready to support freedom of speech, sometimes at the expense of freedom of association and the public good. I will not for a moment deny that there are racists in the police force. But 'cop killer' does not talk constructively about the problem. It presents no observations about any of the 'cases' mentioned and has no manner of picking out the 'guilty' to be punished and offers no solutions other than anarchy and heinous crime. It is hate literature and should not only be quashed, censored if you will, but the revenue from such a song should be ferreted out and given as recompense to the offended parties, police berievement funds etc...

There is a huge difference between arresting someone because he holds certain views and allowing those views to become an industry to manipulate and harm the innocent. I do not believe that Police are, as a whole group, guilty of anything requiring execution. Any acceptance of these lyrics must get beyond this test. Furthermore, for the support they give our society and its freedoms it is in Freedom's interest to defend them, anything less is cultural suicide.

Bo (impressed by many of the cops he has met in his life)

It is hard enough to be the frontline of an imperfect system with goals of perfection without our society accepting this trash.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 05:28 PM

I was indeed speaking literally about gun control. Sometimes a nation must be defended against forces within as well as without, and the framers of the Constitution were wise enough to realize that an armed citizenry is the best guarantee of rule by law rather than by man. Although the powers that be refuse to admit it, those communities in the United States with the strictest gun control laws also have the highest crime rates, while violent crime is down in Florida and other states which have adopted "right to carry" legislation. The criminals are not going to be good little boys and turn in their weapons. Who are they going to prey on, a defenseless victim, or a person who may well be able to protect himself? Don't break into my home; they'll carry you out.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 04:57 PM

Whilst I agree entirely with Whippoorwill about the need for personal responsibility, the rest of his post appears to bear out my earlier hypothesis that the indignation over this song is not because of its inherrant advocacy of violence, but because of its attack on middle class white values. Unfortunately, the learned judges comment is overridden every day by all governments, and in particular that of the USA, in foreign policy (Who is the evil empire today - Libya, Iraq, Iran, Israel - oh sorry too many voters support them). Ask the miners in the UK, black youth in the USA, the aborigines in Queensland, the Maori in NZ, about the role of the police in "protecting society", read Thoraeu's essay on civil disobedience.

I think Whipoorwill has also missed the point in his last paragraph, that democtractically elected governments who impose excessive restrictions on minorities do so with the support and blessing of the majority, and that therefore songs and protests of the disenfranchised minorities will be seen by the majority as an attack on their standards and call for more restrictions and so on in a positive feed back loop. I can't speak first hand for Canada or Australia but I think Whipoorwills point about willingness to accept personal responsibility, and oppose the Governement, is disproved as far as the UK is concerned by the successful civil disobedience campaiign against the Poll tax. Unless of course, and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, that the refernce to "give us your guns" was meant to be taken literaly with regard to these countrys' recent arms control legislation. In which case I can only say in sorrow that a society that advocates the right to bear arms at all times rather than in defence of the nation should not be surprised or shocked when someone other than a member of the majority advocates their use in a way the majority consider inappropriate.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 04:51 PM

In the late sixties or early seventies, someone filmed a documentary in Southern Cal. (L.A. perhaps) called "California Reich". It's been a long time since I saw this so I can't offer much information on it, but there was a sordid little scene filmed in the home of a neo-nazi family involving a boy, about 10 years old maybe, his parents & their freinds. He was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up..

"a cop"

"Why?"

"So I can kill niggers"

Perhaps because this was being filmed, his mother injected a little morality, saying "We don't want to kill anyone" someone else chimed in "Just keep them in their place".

So this little fellow starts punching and beating and kicking his imaginary "nigger" while the adults cheered and goaded him on. When I saw the video of the Rodney King beating, I recalled this scene and realized that same kid would be old enough to be one of those cops. This song was written in the wake of the aquittal of those police officers, and I think it a perfectly valid expression of hate and outrage, done in a first person perspective. Much in the tradition of Australian convict ballads. Now anyone who wants to claim "Bold Jack Donohue" has more artistic merit won't get any argument from me, but I will argue that the frustration and injustice that leads to the expression of anti social values (and bushrangers were definately anti social) is the same.

My original reference to this song, in the "objectionable materials" thread, was to point out the hypocrasy of the politicians at the time who were all trying to make political hay off of the tune. The same mouthpieces who suddenly were concerned about the Hearts & Minds of Americas youth had and have done nothing to eradicate the conditions that lead to this terrible world view.

L.A's well organized and heavily armed street gangs are financed largely by the lucrative market in drugs, this market is the most profitable in the world because we have the worst policy in the western world toward drugs. Our so called "War" (is it two generations, or three now?) has incarcerated young men, especially black men, as fast as we can build warehouses for them, and taken the cop off the street and turned him into a heavily armed paramilitary soldier who cruises neighborhoods like enemy troops on recon. What kind of ideas and feelings do you expect young men from these neighborhoods to express?

As a final note, at the time of this controversy, the idea of warning labels for audio recordings came about. Now I'm all for warning labels, because it's a parents right and responsibility to guide a childs developement, but government censorship is unacceptable. Steve T. if the government could silence emotional, fact free promotions of behaviour, Americas religious groups would be in serious trouble.

Frank (but is it folk?) I.T.S.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Bert
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 04:43 PM

Barry Finn,

Uh! Oh! You've hit on one of my pet peeves.

DDT is one of the safest insecticides ever made.

The problem was caused by indiscriminate use.

SO, the powers that be decide to remove this valuable tool in our fight against insects and still allows the indiscriminate use of far more potent poisons.

With the use of DDT, malaria (just one insect borne disease) was reduced to around one million deaths per year world wide.
Since the banning of DDT, that figure has almost doubled.

I Think that....
No poison should be administered without some form of control.
We need DDT to control insects.
A lot more attention need to be paid to mechanical and organic methods of control.

Let me get down from my soap box. Bert.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 03:49 PM

I forgot to add above, oppressing goverments. Barry


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 03:47 PM

If you don't approve, boycott, & boycott what ever you feel supports what you object to & voice your intentions, very efficient in a capitalist society.It works well with green apples, lettuce, grapes, dirty chickens, pehaps with the high cost of drugs, IRS, DDT, nuclear power & whatever else you think might (K)ill ya. Barry


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 11:23 AM

It is an interesting dilema..if we choose a society free from censorship of expression, then inevitably someone will produce songs like "Cop Killer", which advocates censoring PEOPLE! And if someone IS moved by the song, and tries (or succeeds) to 'censor people', then (and ONLY then), the authorities respond by 'censoring' HIM by long prison sentences or worse! ....I suppose, that as much as it grieves me to simply watch and wait, knowing what power those songs have, it is better to have a FREE society.

(hmmmm..I am sure that, were I to stand on a corner handing out leaflets that advocated killing minorities, that I would be arrested...I am SURE that there are laws about that! Would it then be ok if I were to SING it!) This free society business is a LOT of work.....


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 11:11 AM

I have seen a great deal written here about the right of free expression, and I agree with most of it, but I regret that I have seen very little about the responsibility that goes with that right. As the judge told the street fighter, "Your rights end where the other fellow's nose starts." A singer certainly has the right to express his ideas, up to the point where they begin interfering with the continuance of our society. "Cop Killer" is not only (IMHO) bad music, it is contra-survival to our civilization. It is anarchy. It is a wish to return to the days when the man with the biggest stick, the longest sword, the most powerful gun could do whatever he wanted to, with no consideration for anyone else. Our society has designated the police as a force to keep the strong and lawless under control for the protection of the weak. To advocate killing police officers strikes at the core of civilization. We as a society (or our elected representatives) have the responsibility to control and counter that attack. If the people will not do it, the government must.

Pete M said, "Those of us from Europe have had first hand experience in the not so distant past of where democratically elected governments can go if allowed." If allowed. Once again the abdication of personal responsibility. We saw it happen in Germany, in Russia, in China, in Cuba, in so many countries. First, "We must stand together." Then, "You must stand behind the government." Then, "Give us your guns, the government will protect you." And finally, "We have all the guns, you will do as we say." It's happening again, in Australia, in Britain, in Canada. People who will not take responsibility must take whatever is handed them.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Pete M
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 01:52 AM

I continue to be impressed by the level of debate and thought on this site, which I think gives the lie to the barb in Aldus's last post.

No one is pretending there are easy answers to this question, and I also agonise over the points raised by Bill D and Chet W. However I still find that on balance I believe society as a whole to be better off with free expression of views however hateful (in either sense of the term). As intimated by Earl, the one sure way of ensuring these views survive is to drive them underground.

Steve, you may be saddened by peoples mistrust in "democratic" government, but those of us from Europe (I am assuming you are in the US) have had first hand experience in the not so distant past of where democratically elected governments can go if allowed. All that is required is to keep the majority of voters happy - and what better way than identifying a minority who cause all the problems - blacks, the urban poor, the unemployed, gypsies, jews etc. If we are to prevent this sort of song being written or at the very least prevent it being taken up as an anthem by people like Chet's custodees, the causes have to be addressed. Of course that means doing lots of things, as a community, that most people don't want, starting with high taxes and putting people before profits, its so much easier to say "ban it" I also feel that you are misleading yourself if you think information on cook book chemistry and physics is not available to those who search.

Just a thought that occured to me as was typing, I can't substantiate this with examples, but I am reasonably certain there are similar contemporary songs around the world where one group identifies another as the enemy to be killed. I wonder just how much of this debate centres on the fact that this particular song is essentially an attack on the white middle class via the medium of their protectors? I would be happy to be proved wrong.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Earl
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 12:24 AM

Setting aside for a moment the question of who will decide what to censor, what mechanism could the government possibly used to censor recorded music? Making a CD these days is cheaper than making crack. Give me the rights to a song banned by the government and I'll retire to Beverly Hills.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: steve t
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 08:29 PM

I'm impressed by Joe's and Chet's points. I'm saddened by the distrust of most people in democratic government's capacity to censor responsibly. I'm very glad that the mudcatteers aren't in charge of censorship -- it's nice for example, that the recipe for nerve gas isn't readily available.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: chet w
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 08:19 PM

Government censorship is dangerous. Some old seemingly harmless songs do indeed have similar themes. BUT here's what's different now: The number one cause of death among young black men is homicide, almost entirely at the hands of other young black men. For young white men homicide is now the number two cause of death. Please don't try to tell us that "Cop Killer" is a continuation of the tradition of protest songs. It is nothing more than a money-making machine taking the opportunity to a deadly trend in society that was caused by too many things for me to figure out. We as a culture, not as a government, should be outraged by this sickness. Is it art? Of course it is, but it's hateful art (fuck your grieving mother and your grieving family, for God's sake!). This is not a job for the government, and you're right, Joe, it is a job for more than just parents. We as families, neighborhoods, communities and as a big old sick society have to express that Body Count and those like them have every right to express whatever they like, but that if what seems to be revealed about their character by this song is true, then they are not welcome among us. As I said before, I see this happening every school day. All of my students have committed serious crimes, including murder and rape, and they obviously find some vindication, kinship, aid and comfort or whatever you want to call it from this stuff. We must say that this standard of behavior is unacceptable and unwelcome among non-violent folks. We do not have to protect it as art or opinion just because Woody Guthrie sang anti-government songs. It is not not not the same thing. Unless things change a lot right now, half of my students (age 14-18) will be dead or in prison before they're 25. I get to hear about it at least every couple of weeks. Just last week one of my former students that I was sure would make it shot somebody at a party. A few months ago another on blew his own head off. We have to oppose this pathology even if it saves only one life. My students, as bad as some of them are, do not have to continue to suffer the criminal underclass lifestyle so Snoop Doggy Dogg can have a bigger swimming pool in Beverly Hills (not struggling with his customers in East Los Angeles). And we have a lot more to do. I know this message is too long and a lot of people won't read it, but if you could only see in person the results of such tolerance as some have expressed here, you would change your mind or go crazy.

Let's get busy, Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Cop Killer IS objectionable
From: Earl
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 06:00 PM

Rosebrook is right. The song is objectionable but censorship is more so. The problem with censorship is that it implies that the smart moral people have a duty to protect the dumb people from the immoral peaple. While I may side with the righteous today, I'm just as likely to be a target tommorrow.

I'll protect my child, by instruction and example, from overtly bad messages like this as well as from the subtle insidious bad messages that are much more common. No one, though, is qualified to protect me from someone else's free expression.


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